Cover Image: Serious Moonlight

Serious Moonlight

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Member Reviews

I could not figure out how to download this book! I always forget that it is sometimes a challenge to do that with Simon titles. But I love Jenn Bennett's books and I do plan to purchase a title and get to this one - and then I will come back to review it more fully.
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Books set in Seattle automatically get moved to my TBR. I loved Daniel being an awkward geek and not some jock. I love his relationship with Birdie who seemed so relatable and down to earth. Their back and forth conversations were the best part.  

The plot of this book was great but it didn't make my top ten. Bennett's writing is fun and hits the perfect tone.
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This was a really good romance that covered a lot of serious issues and had a good central mystery to solve. Don't want to give any plot details away but you should totally check it out. The mystery quotes were a nice touch, too.
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Jenn Bennett has been knocking it out of the park with YA contemporary the last few years. She is now my main go-to when recommending a sweet romance to one our teen readers.
Serious Moonlight was a fun mix between YA romance and mystery that I just adored. The book is set in a bookstore (what a dream!) with the rainy backdrop of Seattle that just adds an extra layer to this story. Very cute - definitely recommend to anyone who loves a good contemporary romance!
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3.5 This romcom was a delight to read and I truly enjoyed the mystery flair. The characters were believable and their backstories held angst that made their coming together difficult and tension-filled. It was a bit longer than necessary; wordy and repetitive in some places when I thought the story could move along, but all-in-all this was an enjoyable relationship story with a nod to detective lovers.
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Birdie and Daniel meet one late night/early morning at the Moonlight diner in Seattle, where Birdie grew up with her single mom and “aunt” Mona. (But now she lives with her recently widowed grandfather on Bainbridge Island.) They have awkward sex, and Birdie hopes to never see him again. That preference is carelessly dashed when she starts working at a hotel downtown— Daniel also works there. In a bid to spend time with her, Daniel ropes mystery-loving Birdie into helping him solve a mystery. As the two spend more and more time together, their feelings grow and romance (with some of bumps, of course) blossoms. 

Birdie and Daniel’s romance models consent, safe sex, and good communication. The mystery (while important to several plot twists) was a distraction from the romance at hand. 

Diverse reads: Daniel is half-Japanese and half-Euro-American; Birdie and her grandfather have narcolepsy 


***SPOILER***




Mental health: Daniel attempted suicide before the chronological start of the book; he takes medication and sees a therapist
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Jenn Bennet’s romances always shine, and this is no exception. Birdie and Daniel are such an adorable pair—and their banter had me laughing right from the get-go. I fell in love with sweet, geekily magical Daniel right along with Birdie, and I really did want to see them together. The mystery aspect of the book is also fun—Birdie is a huge mystery aficionado, so it worked out perfectly that there was a true mystery right under their noses. And while it’s the romance that kept me turning the pages, the way the central mystery ends up playing out is unexpected and interesting! I absolutely LOVE the family dynamics in this story, especially when it comes to Daniel’s family and Birdie’s grandpa. The only character I’m not absolutely head-over-heels for is Birdie’s “Aunt” Mona, who feels a little bit like a too-quirky-cool caricature for me. Plus, I was worried at first at her response to Birdie’s uneasiness over the circumstances of losing her virginity (Mona seems far too cavalier and unhelpful about it—I think her character is supposed to be really sex-positive, but she comes off as a bit too flighty and wacky to take any of her advice very seriously). But, this was redeemed for me in the end because I think the topic of sex was handled well overall. (Everything isn’t perfect and magical between Birdie and Daniel right away! They both acknowledge that the circumstances of their first encounter weren’t ideal and may have even been a mistake. Daniel and Birdie have real conversations about sex!) Oh, and this book does include the stereotype of a homeschooled teen who’s socially awkward and is forced into homeschooling by an overly-strict parental figure (in this case, her Christian grandma)—as you may know, this is a personal pet peeve of mine. But the good far outweighs the bad! And, as usual, Bennet explores themes of mental and physical health with care and without over-dramatizing. That can be a feat in itself. Highly recommend this book!

NARRATION: I listened to the audiobook version of this book from the library, and I thought that Devon Sorvari did a fabulous job with the narration. Her depiction of the banter between Daniel and Birdie was especially fun!

***Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley (but I ended up listening to the audiobook from my local library). No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
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Finally got around to finishing this one and it was cute! Definitely not my favorite of Jenn Bennett's books, but the Seattle setting had my heart.
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I love Jenn Bennetts books, Alex Approximately will probably forever be my favorite. She is one of my go to authors when I'm in the contemporary romance mood. Which is why I HAD to request this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and blew through it in one sitting, which has been super rare for me lately. So, I highly recommend it!
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Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett | Book Review

STORY | 18 years old, and Birdie Lindberg has been something of a protected teenager. Raised by her loving but protective grandparents, Birdie suffers from a sleep disorder thanks to her grandfather’s gene, but it doesn’t stop her from living. Instead she brushes it aside as part of her daily life. Then Daniel walks into her life.

With his long hair, and gorgeous smile, Birdie knows his reappearance in her life could be trouble. You see their last meeting included an awkward mistake, and she hopes she never sees him again. But fate isn’t so 
kind, and when they both become interested in a mystery with origins at the historical hotel where they both work, Birdie and Daniel embark on amateur detective work… and maybe discover new feelings for life, family and each other.

REVIEW | There are certain books that stand out to a would-be reader. For me, it’s always the cover art. That’s what first captures my attention, and after this, I read the synopsis and either buy it (or sometimes I decide to wait), or if I’m not convinced, I’ll read some reviews. When the cover art for Serious Moonlight (I mean, LOOK AT THE PRETTY!!) released, immediately I was captured. It’s the kind of aesthetic that seems romantic and fun, and for this bookworm, perfect. While it’s true this story has some of the right elements, it also disappoints.

This book has so many things that give this a “Rissi-reads catnip” vibe. Sadly, its execution doesn’t always work in its favor (at least for me). The beginning does nothing to endear the characters and story. (Spoilers to follow!) The book’s early pages open with a kind of “big deal” confession from Birdie. She shares with her “aunt,” Mona that she had a tryst in the back of a boy’s car.

This is not something I felt authentic to the story or character, and as a result, it wasn’t something I liked about the book, especially seeing as this echoes throughout. Most YA fiction talks about sex in some form or another, but not in the way that it weaves throughout the story. This is a big deal (as it should be) for the character, but because of this, I feel like this belittles the characters, and what might have been a sweet love story. (End Spoilers.)

Beyond this, I do like the concept of this book. It’s fun and features a kind of Veronica Mars element because of Birdie’s love of a good mystery. This is my bookish love language as are the familiar quotes from famous detectives at the opening of each chapter. Aside from my big disagreement with this book, it does have some fun moments. I like the characters, and found some of the familial dynamics really interesting.

I suspect if you like Jenn Bennett’s novels, you’ll really enjoy Serious Moonlight. The end is really good, and feels complete, which is a pro. It might not be my most favorite contemporary, but I’m not sorry to have read the book. It’s cover art just led me to believe the story inside would be something a bit different.

Content; there’s a good number of the F-word (or some variation), and other profanity (including using the letters “GD” as a substitute). Spoilers. Innuendo and sexual content also crops up quite a lot. Birdie and Daniel are intimate several times (more implied than descriptive), and not long into the book, Birdie confesses to a kind of “one night” tryst in the backseat of a car. There's references to a suicide attempt. The book would certainly be PG13.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in consideration of review; all opinions in this review are my own.This review was originally posted on Finding Wonderland
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I received an eARC from Simon Pulse via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Jenn Bennett has always been on my radar, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved her writing. I can't wait to read more of her books in the future. My review can be read by clicking the accompanying link.
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SERIOUS MOONLIGHT by Jenn Bennett was a delight to read. Loved the setting, characters/friendships and the mystery. Bennett has made it on my auto-buy list and SERIOUS MOONLIGHT did not disappoint.
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After loving Alex, Approximately and Starry Night by Jenn Bennett, I have been really looking forward to another great contemporary romance. Unfortunately her latest novel, Serious Moonlight, which features a mystery and a romance fell completely flat for me. 

  The book is set in Seattle, Washington where Birdie Lindberg is a home schooled and extremely sheltered teen with narcolepsy. After the death of her single mother, Birdie was raised by her grandparents and her wild, eccentric-artist "Aunt" Mona. Birdie is great at solving mysteries and lives vicariously through her novels, but she can  not find her footing in real life. On the surface Birdie is a character that I would have loved as I too was a mystery loving teen, but she read far too young for an eighteen year old. I understood her awkwardness but I never felt connected to her. When the book opens we find out that Birdie had very first sexual encounter with a boy she just met and ghosted him, which kick starts this novel. I had a very hard time believing that a teen so sheltered would do this when all of her personality descriptions suggest otherwise.  

  We met Birdie's mysterious boy, Daniel Aoki, when Birdie begins working the graveyard shift at the historic Cascadia Hotel, where Daniel drives the hotel van. He wants to understand what happened between them, but Birdie just wants to forget. Still, she can't resist his invitation to help solve an intriguing puzzle about a local author who takes great pains to hide his identity in weekly visits to the hotel, and their sleuthing takes them all over the city. 

  I thought Daniel was adorable, but he was not fleshed out as I had hoped. Bennett attempts to balance a happy, breezy love interest and one who is battling depression. I had hoped the mental health aspect would be further explored but it is not. I appreciated once again the inclusion of diversity of Daniel being half Japanese and half white with a hearing difficulty. Overall I felt pretty underwhelmed with this book and I did not feel surprised with the final reveal of the mystery either.
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I received an e-arc of Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett from Simon and Schuster in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way influenced my thoughts and feelings about this book. 

I’ve read two of Jenn Bennett’s books previously – and adored them. Starry Eyes was a great second chance romance, while Alex, Approximately just got to me. And Serious Moonlight was just so good, a mix of romance with a little mystery, it just worked here. 

Serious Moonlight follows Birdie as she begins her summer job at a historic Seattle hotel. Closed off from the world, Birdie took comfort in a life where she could be a heroic detective. After an awkward encounter with Daniel Aoki, they now have to work the night shift together. But when they stumble on a real-life mystery, they have to work together if they want to discover who the famous reclusive writer is meeting at the hotel. 

Birdie was a really interesting protagonist in Serious Moonlight and I am not sure how I feel about her. Birdie has had a hard life and that has really influenced her. While she does have an outgoing nature at times, I felt that she is also very withdrawn. Not only does she like to keep to herself, but doesn’t know how to handle certain situations. However, this made for an interesting read. Because Birdie’s character development and character arc were fantastic. The reader is able to see Birdie really grow throughout Serious Moonlight and not only become comfortable with others but also herself. 

I felt the same about Daniel. There were times where I really enjoyed getting to know him, but then he did some things throughout the novel that just didn’t sit well with me. Daniel like Birdie has gone through a lot. Things are revealed as the novel goes on and Birdie and Daniel get to know one another. I really liked that Daniel had a positive outlook on everything that he did. Well, he had his own demons her really tried to help those around him.  

One thing that I think that Jenn Bennett does so well, is create characters that are, honest, real and have flaws. And she did it again in Serious Moonlight. It makes reading her books, feel more real. Meaning, I don’t have to imagine these characters, these worlds. They just fit. 

The romance in Serious Moonlight was really interesting and different from what I’ve read from Jenn Bennett. Birdie and Daniel had met before the start of the novel, and it wasn’t the most graceful goodbye. So when they have to work together, everything gets a little awkward. But it was kind of cute. I loved how innocent Birdie was and how Daniel loved playing upon that. But not in a bad way, he just pushed her out of her comfort zone a little – and that made both of them grow. There were parts throughout their relationship that I didn’t love. But it was out weight by how adorable they were together.

The theme of family was a big part of this novel. Both Birdie and Daniel have different family lifestyles and it was great seeing these two come together. Birdie mostly grew up with a very strict and protective grandmother. While Daniel’s family is more outgoing, after some events his mother becomes very protective of him.  

I don’t think that Jenn Bennett gets enough love, this is the third novel of hers that I have read and I’ve loved. Like I said before Jenn Bennett knows how to write real and honest characters. They have their faults, but they are also so compelling and I want to cheer for them. Both Daniel and Birdie have been through a lot before the novel start, and the reader gets to see them go on a journey and grow.  

Overall, I really enjoyed Serious Moonlight. It’s a great combination of mystery and contemporary that captures real characters. With writing that is easy to read, the characters float off the page. Jenn Bennett is able to create a story that is easy to follow and to fall in love with. Daniel and Birdie were fantastic characters that really stood out for me. If you haven’t had the chance of reading a Jenn Bennett, then I think you should get on it.
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I loved the setting of Seattle and the comfort of cracking a mystery! All of the aspects of this books separately are things I tend to love, but at the same time parts dragged and I often found my attention wasn't fully kept. Still Jenn Bennett writes cute characters, and it was a good story.
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I had some trouble getting into this one - it was fine, but I never felt really compelled to read it. It just felt so big, and I decided to move on - not a bad book, but not the book for me. If I had finished this book, it would probably be around 3 stars - fine, but not a new favorite, and I just didn't feel compelled to keep going for a so-so book.
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This book hit all the right spots for me. Teen detectives, simmering romance, a super fun vibrant city, amazing character growth, non judgmental sexy times, honestly the list could go on and on.
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(4.5 stars)

I received a complimentary ARC of this book via Netgalley, but this review is based off a reading of the hard-copy which I purchased for myself. All opinions provided are my own. 
 
Let the record reflect that I would be a horrible detective. I’m overly imaginative but with no built-in set of brakes that prevent me from becoming a rabid conclusion-jumper. Needless to say, I’m not like Birdie Lindberg, teen heroine of Jenn Bennett’s Serious Moonlight and an aspiring detective who’s been exercising said detective muscles since childhood.
 
Birdie’s new job as a night-shift auditor at a fancy hotel presents her with her first big mystery case: the real identity of famed writer Raymond Darke. And the teen who points out this mystery to her? That’s none other than Daniel Aoki, a boy she recently had an embarrassing hook-up with & then avoided (like he was a loquacious former classmate she spotted across the grocery store on a day she wore her least flattering pair of jeans and just felt blah. Anyone else know the feeling?)
 
Bennett’s YA books sparkle and shine, even as they’re weighted with the subjects that make life challenging: divorce, the break-up of friendship, a bad hook-up, a previous suicide attempt, the death of a loved one. She’s tackled them all at some point or another in the three books of hers I’ve read. Her teenage main characters wrestle with their problems with a sensitivity & poise that’s admirable but doesn’t feel inauthentic or cloying.
 
What really makes her books special is that her characters are confident enough to be themselves. From their dress to their styling to their passions, they’re quirky, bold, & assured, & it makes me adore them. It also lends every story she tells the feeling of freshness. Case in point? Birdie is an orphaned homeschooled mystery-lover who wears a real flower behind her ear like Billie Holiday; Daniel is a hearing-disabled teen who lives in a commune with his mom & grandparents and loves magic.
 
Serious Moonlight is another rich, big-hearted novel from Jenn Bennett, so imbued with love for her characters and between her characters that it feels like a hug.

Q: Who is one of your favorite contemporary YA authors? I also highlyyyy recommend Julie Buxbaum.
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I was very cute. Loved that there was a different side of Seattle shown through this story. Not so meet cute but a cute meeting none the less by the main characters.
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SERIOUS MOONLIGHT is by far my favourite contemporary YA novel that I’ve read so far this year. Granted, there hasn’t been a single Jenn Bennett book that I haven’t loved, but SERIOUS MOONLIGHT is my absolute favourite of everything that she has ever written. I loved the setting, the characters, the issues discussed, the mystery and just the fact that it was super sex-positive.

Probably my favourite thing about this book is that the opening is pretty much the YA version of the opening of Grey’s Anatomy (which was one of my favourite shows for the first like 7 seasons). Our main character Birdie has lived a sheltered, home-schooled life with her grandparents after the passing of her mother when she was a young child. After the death of her overprotective grandmother, and with her schooling now over, Birdie is free to get a job and explore what she wants to do in life. On a particularly ‘wild’ night, she ends up hooking up with a guy in the backseat of his car and ends up fleeing when she realises how strange and out of character it was for her. But of course, the mystery guy ends up as a colleague at the hotel where Birdie just landed a job and things get a little bit awkward and complicated. Especially when she can’t seem to stop thinking about our mystery guy, Daniel.

I just loved Birdie so much. I related to her on so many different levels, from feeling really awkward when talking to others who just seemed so confident in their own skin to being scared to take risks for fear of failure or ending up alone. She was an extremely interesting character and I loved how her fear of abandonment was portrayed in this novel and the way that it drove the plot. I also enjoyed that Birdie was a mystery buff and loved doing detective work and solving mysteries. I’m definitely not the same kind of person but all of the mystery elements in the novel were really fun and I absolutely loved that Birdie and Daniel had their own little mystery to solve, which brought them closer together. I was a bit worried that the mystery wasn’t going to be fully thought out and that it would only be used as a way of getting Birdie and Daniel together, but was really happy that it was fully integrated into the plot of the book.

I absolutely loved Daniel as well. He was super swoony, even though the long hair and top knot/man bun definitely is not my thing. He was just really charming but had his own flaws that he didn’t really try to hide from Birdie… too much. I enjoyed that he had great chemistry with Birdie and pushed her out of her comfort zone without being an overbearing scumbag. I loved their romance and was shipping them extremely hard from the very beginning of the book. Jenn Bennett created this beautiful tension where I wasn’t sure if they were going to get together or not, throughout the entire book. It was frustrating as a reader who really wanted them to be together but it worked beautifully as a story. Jenn Bennett also does not shy away from talking about sex in this novel, in an extremely tasteful and positive way that still manages to convey not only the good but also the not-so-good aspects.

"Daniel: This is me when I think about u:
(>’-‘)>
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